Flashback story of an escape from the lonely, high-security Dartmoor Prison. A jealous barber's assistant is enraged by the attentions that his manicurist girlfriend pays to a customer. He ... See full summary »
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Flashback story of an escape from the lonely, high-security Dartmoor Prison. A jealous barber's assistant is enraged by the attentions that his manicurist girlfriend pays to a customer. He threatens the customer with an open razor and lands in gaol. Written by
First time of viewing this one: a marvellous experience, from the opening shots of a prisoner on the run over moorland from prison guards to the ending where
The first intertitle is "Joe!" and we're immediately launched into an hour long flashback of how Joe got to be a prisoner and how he knows Sally. He's obsessively in love with her with awful consequences for the man she really loves, and himself - realistically portrayed and apart from the incident in the barbers unfortunately only too believable. The three main leads play their parts wonderfully well with incessant close ups, inventive photography, low cameras and precise mirror shots highlighting the intensity. Photogenic Norah Baring thankfully was no Hollywood Queen, her self possession and simple youthful homeliness adding an extra dimension to the time honoured tale. Favourite bits: Life in Sally's boarding house with the old biddies, ear trumpets and ancient furniture and plants; The cinema segment with everyone including the redundant pit orchestra intently watching a talkie, and of course the orgasmic psycho-jazz snappy editing; The "murder" in the barbers (it was fun watching everybody apparently just watching the dying man dying).
One of the last mainstream silent films produced, it just couldn't have worked even one year later as a slave to the voice this shows exactly what silent films could offer as an artform, and still do to those with a little patience. Try it.
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